Joe Wagner was one of the finest men I've ever known. While I was serving as the last comptroller for the town of Signal Mountain, I sat next to Joe during the monthly Council meetings and witnessed first hand what a respected, level-headed, soft-spoken man he was. His expert guidance during those meetings was invaluable.
Although it's been over 20 years since I was required to attend the town meetings, I remember that he was already in his late 70s and was known to often close his eyes and rest his chin on his chest during some of those very long discussions. During one such discussion about a very hot topic, the mayor, without changing his tone of voice, said maybe we should ask Joe what he thought about the matter and smiled as he looked toward Joe's end of the table -- the mayor thought that Joe had fallen asleep. Without missing a beat, opening his eyes or raising his head, Joe gave a very concise summary of the problem that had been under discussion and then gave his opinion of the legal ramifications of each of the suggested solutions that had been offered.
Nothing got by him. It doesn't surprise me that he was still practicing law at 97.
He will be missed.
Lynda G. Scott